I started using Tynker to teach my son to code when he was 8. Tynker shares some common features with Scratch, but is Tynker better than Scratch as a tool to teach kids to code? I decided to find out.
Scratch is a free coding platform that offers heaps of values to kids, teachers, and parents alike. In the rest of this blog post, I want to show you a side-by-side comparison of Tynker and Scratch. Hopefully, I can help you to decide if it is worth going with a paid learning platform like Tynker.
Tynker vs Scratch: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Both Tynker and Scratch are used in schools for various educational activities. Those are not included in my comparison.
A comparison of Tynker and Scratch
|20 coding games Free. Paid subscriptions required
Minecraft Mod Creator
|Programming Language For New Coders
|Tynker coding icons
Tynker coding blocks
|Scratch coding blocks
|Learning Progress Tracker
|Online Learning Assistance
|Tutorials & Coding Cards
|Based on age & skill level. Kids start with coding blocks & progress to text-based programming.
|Based on the project of interest. Kids continue to create advanced projects with Scratch coding blocks
|Text-based Coding Lessons
|Minecraft Mod Creator, Minecraft mini-games, Minecraft Texture Packs, and private Minecraft server
|No Integration of Minecraft games. There are students who recreate Minecraft games on the Scratch platform.
|Hardware & Robotic Integration
|Lego WeDo 2.0
Parrot mini drones
|Lego WeDo 2.0
Lego Mindstorms NXT
What do Tynker and Scratch have in common?
- Block-based programming: Both Tynker and Scratch offer their own version of coding blocks.
- Online Community: Students can share their creations with the online community.
- Hour of code: Students are encouraged to take up the hour of code challenge to enjoy and discover the love of coding.
- STEM: Both platforms support STEM education by offering lessons and projects.
- Learning programming concepts: Both platforms offer adequate lessons and projects that help kids to learn programming concepts, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
Summary of Tynker Platform
How much does it cost to join Tynker
Tynker is a freemium platform. It is free to sign up and play on the Tynker platform. However, the free account limits to 20 free coding games, Minecraft skins, and access to the free Minecraft private server for a limited time.
Tynker offers Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly, and Lifetime subscription plans. The price ranges from $20/month to $240 for a lifetime plan.
Tynker Online Learning Assistance
For every lesson, Tynker offers a built-in tutor that provides detailed, step-by-step guidance to kids. In the hand-holding style, the tutor shows kids which coding block they should use and where to place the block.
The built-in tutorial provides video, text, and graphical instructions.
Tynker offers a learning path from block-based coding to text-based programming
On the Tynker platform, kids learn to code using Tynker’s own visual programming language. It is a visual logic block.
Kids as young as 5 years old can start by playing coding games and do simple programming using the drag-and-drop coding blocks. For younger kids who are not ready to read, Tynker offers special icon blocks.
Tynker organizes learning sections into 8 categories, and each category consists of modules for beginners, intermediate and advanced students.
- Coding Puzzles
- Intro to Coding
- Game Design
- Robotics & IoT
- Text Coding
Tynker Minecraft Integration
For kids who love Minecraft, Tynker’s Minecraft integration is a great learning resource.
The dedicated Minecraft section on the Tynker platform offers modules that allow kids to create and learn with Minecraft.
Here are the Minecraft learning modules offered:
- Mod Starter Pack
- Game Design
- Design Skins
- Learn How To Mod
- Create Texture Packs
- Create Mods
- Starting a Minecraft Server
Kids can port their creation into a private Minecraft server. They can play and share their Minecraft world, mini-games, or texture packs with friends.
Summary of Scratch platform
How much does it cost to join Scratch
Scratch is a FREE coding platform. Parents, teachers, and students who are keen to learn or teach coding can join the platform.
Scratch Online learning Assistance
To help kids get started with the platform, Scratch provides a library of online tutorials. At the time of writing, there are 25 tutorials available.
You can find tutorials on how to animate a name, how to make music with Scratch, how to create a story, or how to make a chase game, etc.
Each tutorial comes with an explanation video and graphical instructions.
Learning Path: Scratch focuses on mastering the coding blocks and explore advanced projects
Scratch offers block-based programming. And that is the only programming language kids will learn from the platform. It does not offer text-based programming lessons or coding capabilities. Students continue to learn and use coding blocks to create more advanced and complex projects.
With Scratch, kids learn to code by creating Animations, Art, Games, Music, Stories, and Tutorials.
Scratch & Minecraft
Scratch does not integrate with Microsoft Minecraft games. However, creative students are reproducing some Minecraft games with Scratch.
What is block-based coding? Why is it good for kids?
Both Tynker and Scratch offer block-based programming language to young kids. It allows kids to create computer programs by dragging and dropping visual blocks without having to deal with the complex programming syntax.
Research has shown that Block-Based Programming language is appropriate for children. It helps them to develop algorithmic thinking and build the foundation for subsequent computer science studies.
Block Coding is the strength and limitation of Scratch. While kids get better at using coding blocks for complex projects, it is not a programming language that is used in real-life applications. Scratch does not offer text-based programming lessons.
Is Tynker worth it?
For young and new coders, Tynker offers the same, if not better, quality of coding education to kids as Scratch does. Tynker offers almost everything that Scratch has on offer, and with additional features, if you are willing to pay for the subscriptions.
Since it is a commercial platform, Tynker does offer a better graphical user interface and more premium add-ons.
For parents and teachers who prefer a more hand-holding teaching style, and a platform that teaches both block-based and text-based programming to kids, Tynker is worth it.
On the other hand, if you are looking for high quality and free coding platform for kids, Scratch is definitely one of the best choices. You can find out more about Scratch in my blog post about why I think Scratch is good for kids.